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Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope versus Wallmask

House72

Well-known member
Hello All

I am designing my media room and have been advised to get a Vistascope screen for my designer's perfect presentation of every aspect ratio. I was trying to see if a Wallmask instead works to save cost.

I am being told that this may not be the best solution, even with a video processor in the chain. Just trying to see what is the general advice from everyone here. How do you like your masking system.
 

MikeKobb

Well-known member
◥ ◣ Kaleidescape, Inc.
Here's the main thing to keep in mind with a screen that is CinemaScope aspect ratio and then masks in from the sides for other ratios: every other ratio will be smaller than your 2.35/2.40 content. Some people find that this works fine for them.

But also keep in mind that it's becoming increasingly common for directors to shoot some or all of a movie using IMAX cameras or other large-format cameras. (Avatar: The Way of Water is a recent example -- the whole thing is 1.90:1 aspect.) And some of them used mixed ratios (Top Gun: Maverick or The Dark Knight).

For a film like Avatar: The Way of Water (assuming that it's released for home viewing in a 1.90 aspect ratio or even 1.78 as the original Avatar was), it doesn't exactly make sense to watch that at one of your smallest screen sizes. But it might be fine. Some folks will set up their theater so that they watch 1.78/1.85 content from the front row, and 2.40 from the second row, for example. That way you still get a big and engaging image for both aspect ratios.

For Maverick, it's even trickier. Because parts of the film are 1.90:1, we have to bookmark it in our system as that ratio. That means that by default, when you project it, you will be watching it in the center of your screen, with the side masks in. Then when the 2.40 content comes along, that content will still be constrained to that smaller width, and you will additionally have black bars at the top and bottom.

I would suggest that if you go with the wide screen, you ensure that your installer includes the ability for you to manually set an aspect ratio. Then when you watch something like The Dark Knight you can force the entire film to be shown at 2.40, cutting off the top and bottom of the IMAX scenes. With most of these mixed-aspect films, they're shot in anticipation of being shown in some commercial 2.40 theaters and so while you are losing part of the IMAX frame, you're not typically losing vital information.
 

MikeKobb

Well-known member
◥ ◣ Kaleidescape, Inc.
Oh, PS: I'm not personally familiar with the WallMask product, so I'm not sure if supports this, but what I do with my own 1.78 screen is I mask it only from the top. I use my video processor to shift aspect ratios like 2.40 down to cut off the bottom black bar, and then I just mask the top. I did this out of necessity since my screen is a roll-down motorized screen, but I've found that I really like it. It puts the image lower on the wall and I find it more comfortable at that height than if it were centered vertically. Just something to think about.
 

MikeKobb

Well-known member
◥ ◣ Kaleidescape, Inc.
I think with some well placed seating options and the ability to manually override aspect ratio on those mixed-aspect films, you should be able to have a great setup. Enjoy!
 

House72

Well-known member
I want to save money and get their wall mask, but been told by multiple folks will miss the variable masking offered by Vistascope.
 
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